Revenge isn't always the moral high road, but sometimes it's necessary. Justice must be served. Teachers and professors were asked on Reddit: "How did you secretly get back at 'that kid'?" And one user, Nevermind_Itll_Heal, had the best possible answer.
I'm a professor at a State University for the past 17 years, and teach pre-health and pre-med students. I've many stories, both good and bad, but I've never felt the need to retaliate against a student.
Until one day, I met my Nemesis.
This student wanted to go to medical school, though they were of very middling intellect, and came off as socially inept and personally odious.
I and my class stood in her way, so I had to be shoved out of the way on her route to being a healer. She figured the best way to get ahead was to be the squeaky wheel, and bitch about everything. In academia, if you complain enough about a class, we give you a high grade and send you up to the next poor bastard for you to torment. Rinse and Repeat.
So Nemesis went all out to find everything and anything to complain about:
Exam had 80 questions on it, syllabus said 75 questions: COMPLAINT Lecture notes were released in a format that was based on PDF, but the student wanted PowerPoint (Hell, no): COMPLAINT Missed in-class questions on quizzes, and material wasn't covered in lecture (readings, children? I assign them for my health?): COMPLAINT Inappropriate language in lecture (anatomy class, . . . penis, penis, penis, but always anatomically correct): COMPLAINT I did not return her emails the same day she wrote them: COMPLAINT Everything I did, said, or thought about: COMPLAINT.
By the end, she had escalated these issues all of the way to the top, and I got called into the Dean's office. My administrators above me have worked with me for years, giving me no fear of a student "going over my head" with a complaint. But this student tried.
Dean: "This student has sent more than a dozen complaints to the administration." Me: "Just a dozen? I was betting far, far more." Dean: "Normally we would let this pass as this student is known for doing this, and has even involved legal counsel in previous classes. But you have somehow exceeded her previous complaint record by a factor of 3, and none of her other instructors this semester have gotten one. She has singled you out for complaints, and some arguably appear to be about you specifically targeting this student. (Yeah, in clinical cases I replaced all of the patients' names with her first name, even if the patient was a guy. But her name was very common, and there were three other ones with that name in class.) So go easy, don't antagonize her. Just ride it out, and be done with it." Me: "Thanks, Dean. Good talk, bro."
My Nemesis kept it up. I gave her a higher grade than she deserved (which I believe was the whole point as she needed the grades for Med School). Then I washed my proverbial hands. . . .
A year later, I was assigned to be the committee head of the faculty that create group letters of recommendation for medical school applications. And she submitted the form for our committee to create her recommendation packet. Students can, and SHOULD, waive the right to read these evaluations. If you are afraid of what a professor will say about you, don't ask them for a letter. My Nemesis made sure to point out to the committee in a formal letter that because of problems with ALL of the professors that would be writing letters, she wanted to make sure their letters were appropriate and of the correct tone and content before we sent them off. Therefore she would review them before approving them for inclusion in her packet.
Nobody wanted to drop the atom bomb on her and write a true letter as, you know, . . . lawyers. And she would see all of these letters, as would her counsel, before we sent them. So our hands were tied.
But one brave souls went around and solicited her letter writers into creating sublime choruses of praise; these would be the letters you would expect to read to the Nobel Committee about Hawking, Einstein, Newton, and Feynman. We are talking true works of art. Nobody would believe that a student with this background or MCAT score could get one of these eulogy masterpieces, let alone a whole panel.
And I included a note from the committee stating that the student had previously filed academic complaints against each and every professor that wrote her a letter, therefore these letters may not reflect her true academic potential. We got our FERPA lawyer to check this with a fine tooth comb, but our committee "had a duty in our committee recommendation letter to inform those reading the professors' individual recommendations if there may be a mitigating circumstance or formal action that could influence the veracity and quality of the recommendations." The student didn't have the right to see that part unless they request it later. After the letters have been sent out, unfortunately for them.
So she carpet bombed the medical schools with primary applications; every MD, DO, and offshore school that existed got one. The cost must have been staggering, but with parents that can afford lawyers for their brat in undergrad, I am sure they footed the bill gladly to get her out of the house. Within her application packet came those beautiful letters, and those three explosive paragraphs explaining that this student filed academic complaints against every letter writer, and did not waive the right to keep their letters secret.
It doesn't take a genius on the admissions committee of each of these schools to read between the lines on this one, and drop that application in the trash before granting an interview.
She did not get one interview. More than 30 applications, not one school invited her to continue her application process.
That gets a professorial BOOOO-YAAAAAH!
And for those of you whose lives I may have saved by preventing her from becoming the most litigious and incompetent doctor imaginable, and screwing up treatment to you or your loved ones, You are most heartily welcome.
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